New extension to village hall celebrated

A new era in the history of Crookham Village Hall was celebrated on Saturday when the newly-built Tom Turnbull Room was unveiled.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 11:40 am
Three generations of Turnbulls: Eileen, flanked by son Paul and his wife Lisa, and their son Isaac. Picture by Annie Watt.

The new extension to the century-old building was officially opened with a day of celebrations.

The modern room is named after the late Mr Turnbull because his 29 years as chairman saved the hall for current and future generations.

It was opened by his widow, Eileen, and watched by dozens of users and invited guests.

Eileen Turnbull of Branxton cuts the ribbon to open the room named in memory of her late husband Tom. Picture by Annie Watt.

Built at a cost of more than £130,000, the room replaces the damp and crumbling old billiard room and boasts its own small kitchen, storage units and fully accessible toilet facilities.

Paying tribute to her predecessor, who ran the Turnbull family’s engineering business until his death, chairwoman Gemma Banks revealed, to laughter, that “we had considered mounting Tom’s famous orange hard-hat over the entrance instead of the commemorative plaque!”

She pointed proudly to the double-glazed windows and independent electric heating “that make ‘Tom’s Room’ the snuggest, warmest part of our hall,” and said that the room – which is ideal to hire for smaller groups – already had its first booking for a child’s birthday party.

Mrs Banks thanked the various organisations whose funding made the extension possible: the National Lottery Community Fund; ACRE Village Hall Improvement Grant; the Garfield Weston Foundation; Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation; Trust House Charitable Foundation; and the Sir James Knott Trust.

She reserved special thanks for Louise Currie of Community Action Northumberland, who attended the opening.

“Without Louise’s help and CAN’s guidance, we might never have made this dream come true,” she said.

Michael Keating, the committee member responsible for organising the funding, recounted the hall’s 30-year journey from a cold, little-used building to the vibrant community hub it is today and thanked users for their enthusiastic support.

The event then turned into an open day, with scores of visitors dropping in to view the improvements to what its committee claims is one of the area’s best-used village halls.

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